The Case for Medical Cannabis in South Carolina

February 17, 2017, 10:41 am EST | Share:

COLUMBIA, SC (LENA PRINGLE, WACH-TV) — The future of medical marijuana was up for debate at the statehouse in Columbia, and the measure that was introduced last month is slowly gaining support.

Right now there are 28 other states where patients are no longer criminalized for using medicinal marijuana. Could that be the case here in South Carolina?

“This is not a pothead. This is a child with a debilitating medical problem that will eventually kill him and we deserve every opportunity to keep him happy and healthy,” said Kelly Helms.

Helms 18-year-old son Jackson suffers from a medical condition that has caused him at least a hundred seizures a day since he was born.

“He’s had a lifetime of being a patient. He has not had a lifetime of being a child. He is not climbing on playgrounds, not going to lunch with his friends, he’s not asking anyone to prom, we’re not playing baseball, we’re not having sleepovers, we don’t go to birthday parties,” she said.

On Thursday, Senators met to talk about the future of the bill. In order to move it forward, they still need to hear from the medical community and law enforcement.

“I think by addressing it in that way, by taking on the subject matter areas and then having experts testify after this things, I think we come up with a bill that strikes a balance between something that gets medicine in the hands of people who need it and who’s doctors say they should have it, and at the same time guards against the concerns that law enforcement legitimately have,” said Republican Senator Tom Davis of Beaufort.

Helms is hopeful the bill will gain support. She says medicinal cannabis is the only thing that has given her son a chance at a decent quality of life.

“We have been on 37 medications and we have had nerve implants, brain surgeries, we’ve done diets and all of that to try and remedy it,” explained Helms. “Cannabis is the only thing that’s really sustained for longer than about a three month, four month, six month period.”

While the drug has worked for those like Jackson, some say approving the bill could increase drug activity in South Carolina and want to find another way.

The hearing for the next phase of the bill will be in the next upcoming weeks.